Style & Beauty
Style July 5, 2018
For when you steal your mom's jeans
Finding the perfect pair of jeans feels impossible. If only we could all find a cheap pair that magically fits us, like in “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.” Although it’s become less of a problem in the past couple of years thanks to stretchy jeans, we still face conflicts in that fashion hunt. That’s when you should try to shrink your jeans.
Sometimes jeans lose their fit over time or you lose weight. Sometimes you’ll get a vintage pair that’s made from thicker material, often 100 percent cotton. Luckily there’s an easy way to try and get a good fit: with shrinkage.
Shrinking your jeans won’t fix every problem, but for those who have a baggy or stretched out pair, here are some ways to attempt to achieve a comfortable fit.
Heat shrinks so if you want to shrink your jeans, wash them in warm or hot water and dry them with high heat. However, heat may also damage your jeans’ fabric and cause color fading, so don’t do this with expensive jeans or other pieces you care about.
Sometimes it’s not the whole pant that’s an issue, but a small section that might fit weird.
If you’re looking to only shrink a certain area, whether it’s the waist or the leg, you can try S. Princess Warren’s method (seen in the video above) of spraying a concoction of hot water and fabric softener (3/4 cup of hot water, 1/4 cup of fabric softener) onto the desired area and throwing it in the dryer on high heat.
Another common way to shrink jeans is to boil them in a pot for 15-25 minutes before draining them and then putting them in the dryer on high heat. This method is one of the faster ways to shrink your jeans and can cause your jeans to shrink more than other washing methods.
An alleged Levi’s employee on ThriftyFun wrote that Levi employees “tell people to sit in a bath of hot water (as hot as you can get it without burning you) for about a half hour, longer if you can handle it. Afterwards, lay them to dry, this is supposed to make your jeans custom fit to your body.”
This method is also found in the “booklets” that come with vintage jeans according to the commenter. Feel weirded out or too nervous to try it on your own? Try it with a friend! Chances are other people have the same problem.
For the DIY queen, sewing in new seams might be the way to go. YouTuber WITHWENDY details how she downsized her jeans. Wendy does this by taking in the waistband and leg area. Because taking in jeans can cause other areas to look abnormal (i.e. back pockets), she chooses areas of the jeans that are less noticeable to fold and sew in. After sewing in new seams, Wendy cuts off excess fabric and seals the new edges with a zig-zag stitch.
If your jeans are expensive designer jeans, you might not want to try and shrink them on your own. Instead, go to a seamstress or dry cleaners to have them altered. Sometimes prices for professional alteration are cheaper than you think. When I bring a couple of pairs to the dry cleaners, they usually cost $8-10 each for alterations. You can alter them to your exact tastes and body shape without the fear of ruining the pants through a DIY shrinking process.
If you have lost a lot of weight or these methods don’t work, maybe it’s time to let go and buy a new pair. Just make sure to donate old clothes and jeans to your local Goodwill or thrift store.
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